the recipe sharer

#zucchini

Frittata muffins

These are super easy, and lovely to make ahead of time and reheat. You can change up the ingredients, just make sure they’re super tasty with lots of good quality strong cheddar cheese.

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6 large organic eggs
1/2 cup milk (or cream for a richer taste)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (6oz) shredded mature Cheddar cheese (not the pre-grated sort)
3/4 cup zucchini, chopped small
1/2 cup chopped bacon
1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped small
2 tbsp chopped red onion

Makes: 6 servings/12 muffin frittatas

Heat the oven to 350°F.
In a little butter, saute the zucchini, bacon, red pepper and chopped onion until starting to soften and the bacon is starting to brown.
Beat the eggs, milk/cream, salt and pepper in medium bowl until well-blended. Add the grated cheese and the zucchini, bell pepper, bacon and onion mixture; mix well.
Spoon evenly into 12 greased muffin cups, about 1/4 cup each. Add a little extra grated cheese on top of each muffin if you like.

Bake in the oven until just set, 20 to 22 minutes. COOL on wire rack 5 minutes. REMOVE from cups; serve warm.

Weekend soup (using whatever you have left in the fridge)

When the weeks are cooler, I tend to open the fridge doors and haul out any vegetables that could go into a soup. You will be surprised what wonderful concoctions you can come up with and how much soup you can make from very little.
Don’t overthink it and definitely don’t measure anything as soups are one of the most forgiving and inventive things you can make.

This week my ingredients are;

4 large onions, peeled and chopped
1 large turnip, peeled and chopped
6 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 head of celery, including leaves, peeled of stringy stuff
1 butternut squash, peeled, cubed, tossed in olive oil and seasoning and roasted at 350 degrees for 45 mins
1 whole cauliflower, broken into florets
about 12 asparagus spears, snapping off the tough ends and chopping into 1 inch lengths
5 zucchini, halved then quartered lengthways and chopped across into 3/4″ pieces
3 heads of broccoli including stems chopped
1 whole bunch fresh parsley stalks and all
french green beans, trimmed and chopped into 1″ lengths

4 to 6 (32 oz) containers chicken broth. (You can use vegetable broth if you’re vegetarian, but I think chicken broth adds far more flavor.

I put about 1/4 cup of olive oil and about 3 tbsp butter into the bottom of a very large soup stock pot, then in goes the onions, turnip, carrots, celery, cauliflower, broccoli and everything else, stirring as I go so everything mixes together.
After about 15 minutes of this, add the broth, stirring and it should cover the vegetables with an extra level of about 1 to 2 inches, so the soup isn’t too thick.

Let the soup bubble away, stirring it every 20 mins, for about 45 mins at least, until all the vegetables are soft. Taste the juice and season with salt and pepper, but not too much as this is something you can do after you have pureed it.
When it’s cooked, take it off the heat and leave aside for about 1 hour until it’s not so hot. Puree the soup in a blender and at this stage you can add a little cream for a more velvety texture, some soft goat cheese for a really lovely flavor and even some grated mature cheddar or Parmesan cheese, returning it back to a large saucepan after it’s pureed.
Put back on the heat, taste and season until it tastes perfect.

Just remember, play with it, even adding some chopped pancetta or bacon when you fry the vegetables and know that this huge pot of flavorful goodness will feed you for quite a long time and cost nothing more!

The "haul" for the rest of the week

The “haul” for the rest of the week

* Some other great vegetables to use are;
spinach
potatoes
sweet potatoes
tomatoes
Jerusalem artichokes (the knobbly ones)
celeriac (celery root)
fennel
kale
frozen peas, thawed
Swiss chard

Remember, whatever vegetables you put in the soup, there are certain ones that will naturally thicken the soup, like
asparagus
butternut squash
potatoes
sweet potatoes
parsnips
carrots
Cannellini or other tinned beans
cauliflower

Crustless zucchini, onion and ricotta pie

This gorgeous, savory summer pie with a base of fresh ricotta and eggs seasoned with shallots, garlic, and pecorino cheese is the answer to an overly abundant vegetable crop. This version from Italy’s Piedmont region is made with zucchini and onions, but feel free to substitute with peppers, eggplant, squash, even tomatoes.

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Serves 6

1⁄4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
6 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
1⁄2 cup grated pecorino cheese (not pre-grated)
1⁄2 cup ricotta
1⁄2 cup roughly chopped parsley
4 eggs, beaten
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 tbsp. bread crumbs

Heat oil in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook the garlic and shallot until golden, 4–6 minutes.
Add the zucchini, cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
Let cool. Stir in the pecorino, ricotta, parsley, eggs, salt, and pepper.
Heat the oven to 350°F
Grease a 10″ pie plate with butter and coat with bread crumbs.
Spread the zucchini mixture evenly over top; bake until golden on top and slightly puffed, 40–45 minutes.
Serve hot or at room temperature.

Patricia Wells’ Zucchini Carpaccio with Avocado and Pistachios

When you just can’t look another zucchini in the face, put it on a pedestal. Raw zucchini can be spongy, bitter and strangely sticky, so pamper it like Patricia Wells does here, by shaving it into delicate ribbons, then bathing them in a lemony marinade.

A trusted mandoline makes a big difference here — and if you don’t have one, you’re better off opting for a vegetable peeler than a sharp knife. You want planks as thin as flower petals.

There will be leftover lemon salt. Swirl it into buttered pasta; dust it on blanched green beans; put a pinch on a dark chocolate cookie.

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Serves 4 (as a meal) Lemon Zest Salt:

1 tbsp lemon zest, preferably organic
1 tbsp fine sea salt

Combine the lemon zest and salt in a spice grinder, and grind into a fine powder. Transfer to a small jar and close the lid. (Store, sealed in the jar, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. After that the lemon flavor will begin to fade.)

Salad:

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon Lemon Zest Salt
3 tablespoons best-quality pistachio oil (such as Leblanc) or extra-virgin olive oil
4 small, fresh zucchini (about 4 ounces each), rinsed and trimmed at both ends
1 large ripe avocado
1/2 cup salted pistachios
Leaves from 4 fresh lemon thyme or regular thyme sprigs, with flowers if possible
Fleur de sel

In a small jar with a lid, combine the lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon Lemon Zest Salt. Cover with the lid and shake to blend. Add the oil and shake to blend.
With a mandoline, vegetable peeler, or very sharp chef’s knife slice the zucchini lengthwise as thin as possible. Arrange the slices on a platter and pour the dressing over them. Tilt the platter back and forth to coat the slices evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes, so the zucchini absorbs the dressing and does not dry out.
Halve, pit, and peel the avocado, and cut it lengthwise into very thin slices. Carefully arrange the slices of marinated zucchini on individual salad plates, alternating with the avocado slices, slightly overlapping them. Sprinkle with the pistachio nuts. Garnish with the thyme leaves and flowers and fleur de sel.
Serve and enjoy!

Zucchini Parmesan

This is a simple layered casserole with three elements: roasted zucchini, a really good homemade tomato sauce and Parmesan.
Roasting, rather than frying the zucchini, allows you to cut down on olive oil and time.
Thanks to Martha Rose Shulman

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6 servings

For the tomato sauce:
2 to 2½ lbs fresh ripe tomatoes
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 to 4 garlic cloves (to taste)
Salt and pepper
1/4 tsp sugar
2 good sprigs fresh basil
1 & 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh basil

For the zucchini Parmesan:
2 to 2¼ lbs zucchini
Salt and pepper
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
½ to 1 tsp red pepper flakes, to taste
¾ to 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

If you have a food mill, quarter tomatoes. If not, peel, seed and chop them. (See step 5.)

To make the tomato sauce, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat and add onion. Cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute, and add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, sugar and basil sprigs. Increase the heat to medium-high.

When the tomatoes are bubbling briskly, stir and reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes have cooked down and are beginning to stick to pan, 15 to 25 minutes, depending on consistency. Remove the basil sprigs; taste and adjust seasoning.
Heat oven to 450 degrees.
Line 2 sheet pans with parchment. Trim the ends off the zucchini and cut in half crosswise, then into lengthwise slices, about 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick. Season on both sides with salt and pepper and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Arrange the zucchini slices on baking sheets in one layer and sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Roast for 12 minutes, until lightly browned and easily pierced with a knife. Remove from the oven and reduce heat to 375 degrees.

If using a food mill, put the sauce through a medium blade. If not, pulse the sauce in a food processor fitted with a steel blade until just coarsely puréed. Stir in the chopped basil.

To assemble the dish, oil a 2-quart gratin with olive oil. Spread 1/4 cup tomato sauce over the bottom of dish. Arrange a third of the zucchini in an even layer over the tomato sauce. Spoon a third of the remaining sauce over zucchini and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan.
Repeat with 2 more layers, ending with 1/4 cup Parmesan.
Drizzle on the remaining tablespoon olive oil.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until bubbling and browned on the top and edges. Remove from the heat and allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Turkish stuffed zucchini

A really super vegetarian main course, or a side to a protein meal. Very tasty with hot bubbling cheese.

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Serves 6 to 8
4 medium zucchini halved lengthways
2 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and ground pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 oz strong cheddar cheese, grated
3 oz Greek feta, crumbled
1 & 1/2 tbsp all – purpose flour
1 tbsp dried dill weed
1/4 tsp paprika, to sprinkle

Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Scoop insides of zucchini with a spoon or melon baller, leaving  a 1/2 inch rim.
Place zucchini in a 9″ by 13″ baking dish; set aside.
Chop scooped-out zucchini.
Melt butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the chopped zucchini, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until softened, 5 – 6 minutes
Add salt and pepper; transfer to a bowl. Lightly mix in eggs. cheeses, flour and dill.
Spoon mixture into zucchini halves. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake until hot, 30 minutes or so.
Serve hot or at room temperature.

 

Zucchini timbales

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A lightly poached puree of zucchini which can be served as an attractive side dish with meat, poultry or fish.

Serves 4 to 8

1lb zucchini sliced
2 oz toasted breadcrumbs
3 oz butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
a good pinch freshly grated nutmeg
4 oz  Gruyere cheese, finely grated
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
salt and pepper
1/2 pint whole milk
parsley, chopped fine, to garnish

Steam the zucchini slices until tender, then blend to a puree. Grease 8 individual ramekin dishes, 3″ diameter max, and coat with the breadcrumbs.
Melt 1oz of the butter in a small pan and fry the onion for 5 to 10 mins or until soft. Cool, then transfer to a bowl.
Add the nutmeg and cheese and season. Beat in the eggs. Heat the milk gently with the remaining butter until it has melted, then pour it into the egg mixture in a steady stream beating constantly. Fold in the zucchini puree.
Evenly divide the mixture between the prepared ramekins. Place in a roasting tin, half filled with water.
Bake at 325 F for about 30 to 45 mins or until the custard is lightly set. Cool for 5 minutes, then loosen the edge of each ramekin with the point of a knife. Carefully turn out onto a warm serving dish, garnish with some parsley and serve.

Roasted pesto, parmesan vegetable traybake

Yesterday, I did another traybake. I was on my own so decided to cut up a whole pile of vegetables, toss them with a container of pesto sauce from Trader Joes, lots of garlic, and when they were 3/4 through with the roasting, I threw at least half a container of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese over everything and roasted it till it was all melted and browned.
It was divine and so healthy!

Preheat oven to 350 F

Vegetables

 You can choose whatever is in your fridge, but I used;
3 leeks, sliced into 1 inch slices
1lb Brussel Sprouts, trimmed
1/2 large cauliflower broken into florets
2 large red onions, cubed into 1 “ pieces
2 Delicata squash, unpeeled and cubed into 1” pieces
2 zucchini, cut into 1 “ slices

6 large cloves garlic, crushed
1 container Trader Joes pesto sauce (8oz)
6 oz (at least) grated Parmigano Reggiano

Put all the vegetables into a very large bowl then season well and add the garlic and pesto sauce.

Mix together well with your hands and tip all the contents out onto a large baking tray with shallow sides, like the one in the picture.

Roast the vegetables for 25 mins then turn all the vegetables to avoid burning and continue to roast for another 20 minutes.
Sprinkle with plenty of grated cheese and return to oven, turning the oven up to 400F for another 15 to 20 minutes until toasty and melted.

Serve on it’s own, or with a salad

 

Grilled zucchini, Amalfi-style

Light, fresh, simple and stunning flavors. Lovely to serve alongside some marinated fish as a starter. Thank you Marcella Hazan.

Serves 4

2 lbs zucchini, as young and firm as possible, thoroughly cleaned, ends removed
Salt
4 garlic cloves; peeled and slightly mashed
2 tbsp fresh mint leaves, torn into bits
Light olive oil; or vegetable oil, for frying
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Black pepper

Cut the zucchini into rounds or slices lengthwise and place in a colander. Sprinkle with salt and mix gently. Let stand for 30 minutes to allow the water to come off the zucchini.

Put the mashed garlic and mint into a large bowl.

Remove the zucchini from the colander and pat dry. Heat the oil in a large skillet until very hot, then place the zucchini in a single layer in the skillet. Cook on both sides until golden brown, then transfer to the bowl with the mint and garlic.

Sprinkle the zucchini with a little vinegar, then continue cooking any remaining zucchini. Sprinkle with more vinegar when done.

When all the zucchini are done, add olive oil and season to taste with freshly ground black pepper.
Serve immediately or the next day

Zucchini, feta, pine nut and caper salad

This is such a divine combination and wonderful with grilled or roasted meats. After you have made it a couple of times you can start experimenting and add Kalamata olives, roasted red peppers, basil, scallions…. Limitless possibilities.

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Serves 4 (at most)

For the zucchini
1lb 4oz small zucchini, cut lengthways into fairly thin slices
1/4 tsp dried red chili flakes, optional
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

For the dressing
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar, plus extra to taste
1/2 tsp lemon zest, grated
1 – 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped, plus a few whole leaves for garnish
2 tbsp Italian parsley, chopped
2 tbsp capers, rinsed and soaked in cold water for 10 minutes, then drained

To serve
7 oz Greek feta cheese, crumbled
4 tbsp pine nuts toasted

For the zucchini: Put the zucchini in to a colander and toss with 1 tsp salt.
leave for 30 to 60 minutes to drain in the sink, then rinse and dry on paper towels.
Season with lots of pepper and the chili flakes, if using. Add the oil and toss to coat.

Heat a griddle pan or a frying pan until hot and grill the zucchini for 4 to 6 minutes, turning once until well browned and just tender. Transfer to a dish.

For the dressing: Put the oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, lemon zest, garlic and chopped mint and parsley in a bowl and whisk well.
Stir in the capers and pour the dressing over the zucchini.
Cover and set aside for 30 to 60 minutes for the flavors to marry.

To serve”  just before serving, mix in the feta cheese and serve sprinkled with the pine nuts and a few mint leaves.